A New Gaping Hole In My Mouth Reveals Nothing About My Personal Recovery But The Photo Is So Totally Worth Seeing

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“The tooth fairy comes when a child has lost a tooth. Commonly, she is very small, and she comes in the middle of the night. The child is to leave the tooth under his/her pillow, so that the tooth fairy can take it during her visit. Once she has taken the tooth, she leaves monetary reimbursement under the pillow, anything from ten cents to a dollar. (This action is done by a parent.) The teeth are then taken to her tower, and used for her purposes.”
The Modern Myth of The Common Tooth Fairy


The trout leaps high —
below him, in the river bottom,
clouds fly by.
“The World Upside Down”, Onitsura



Crowned seven years ago my right, back, top molar finally succumbed to a cavity just under the gum line. It would have cost $2500 to repair, and even then would only — maybe — have lasted another few years. The problems magnified a few months ago when a flossing accident resulted in an abscess around the tooth. I thought the antibiotics cured that problem, but apparently not.

I have to say — except for the week I spent taking care of the abscess — at no point in the past few months did my tooth hurt. While Dr. Tiny Fingers was working in my mouth I was so numb I was falling asleep while he filled a small cavity on another tooth — this is something I do a lot in the dentist’s chair… they hate it. The actual extraction only took a minute, maybe ninety seconds, this may seem redundant but it felt like something was being removed from my jaw. The roots of the tooth looked close to an inch long. Very odd sensation. As easy as the whole procedure was it’s not something I ever want to feel again. If it ever gets to this point again I’ll pay the $2500 for the next tooth. But floss and fluoride rinse are my new best friends.

So now there’s a huge space in my mouth, I’ve already noticed a difference when I breathe. I talked to someone who had two teeth removed a few years ago and she thinks her speech has changed significantly. I haven’t spoken enough yet to notice if there’s a difference. I did notice that when I suck in my cheeks the right side slips in just a little more than the left… but that could be bullshit. But the weirdest thing, of course, is running my tongue over the empty, and massive, space.

Whatever purposes the Tooth Fairy has in store for my gi-normous tooth she should know that it served me well during our — too brief — association together. It stood up to some pretty intense abuse back in the day, surviving at least three brawls and more than a few pucks.

Holy, fuck that’s a cool photo though. That’s actually a giant pus-filled cyst-sack hanging off that badass MoFo.




About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression when I was nineteen, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. It's now 2022, and I have an 8-year old son, and a 12-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at saltedlithium.com....
This entry was posted in crazy people with no pants, Living With Depression, Living With Manic Depression, Manic Depression, Photography, Poverty. Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to A New Gaping Hole In My Mouth Reveals Nothing About My Personal Recovery But The Photo Is So Totally Worth Seeing

  1. thordora says:

    Dude. The black underneath the cap. BLECH.

    I actually kept the tooth I had pulled a few years ago to remind me to take care of my teeth. there was only like half of the tooth left. I didn’t feel a thing-the chicks thought I was nuts because I kept thinking it was funny that my eyelids were frozen, and I’d laugh, but I couldn’t so I sounded like Hannibal Lecter’s foetus or something….good times…

  2. feartheseeds says:

    I know… it’s freaking hilarious just how bad that tooth got. Did you see the pus-filled cyst-bag hanging there? (I just added this descriptive line to the piece so you may have missed it)

    I was smiling the whole time because I had my camera in my pocket and I knew they’d be freaked out. I think it’s possible the nurse thought the camera was me “overly excited”. Nudge, wink.

    In all the excitement I completely forgot to ask for the tooth. It looks a little too much like something you’d find in one of those red “biohazard” bags, so it might be best that it’s headed for the Tooth Fairy Landfill and not my desk.

  3. It really is the weirdest feeling. You can feel the pulling, hear the crunching and see the huge dental implements twisting and turning, but thanks to the anaesthetics you don’t have any of the normal tactile feedback you’d get. Which is a good thing, of course, but does lead to a certain oddness about the experience.

    Look after the gap and try not to run your tongue over it too much. The clot that’s currently sitting there is your friend, and you want to keep it happy and undisturbed. (I won’t regale you with the horror stories about dry socket that I was told by a dental nurse I knew – suffice to say that it’s not pleasant).

  4. feartheseeds says:

    Dry Socket? What the fuck is “Dry Socket”? I’ve been pushing my tongue into that little hole all evening… and I just looked at the “Recommended Post-Op Care Following Dental Extraction” pamphlet they handed me as I was leaving. Whoops. Who knew it was a “surgery”? Apparently this is a 48-hour process. There’s no pain, no swelling and no bruising — it’s just uncomfortable and mildly annoying. Dr. Tiny Digits said it was okay to drink, just not through a straw. But now I’m reading that rinsing is a bad thing and I’ve downed 4L of ice water, 1L of Diet Pepsi and 1L of Milk in the past four hours. I’m pretty sure that must qualify as “rinsing”.

    And, shit crap fuck, I just Googled “Dry Socket”. Aw crap, now I’m going to get Dry Socket…

    “Any socket in which a patient is having pain due to the loss of the blood clot thus exposing the bone to air, food, and fluids along with an offensive odour. This often occurs two or more days after an extraction and can last about 5-6 days. It is normal to have soreness and discomfort following an extraction.”

    This would have been useful to mention before I left the office… I’m all for scare tactics as an educational tool. Man alive… so far this summer sucks dog bag.

  5. Unless you were actually swilling the various beverages around your mouth, you probably don’t have too much to worry about. You’d have noticed if the clot was disturbed this soon after the extraction from the way your mouth was suddenly filled with blood. And even if this happened, it’d probably have re-clotted without too much trouble.

    It’s worth being careful, though.

  6. feartheseeds says:

    I was planning on pizza and more Diet Pepsi tonight but I managed to get to the store before it shut down so I’ve got enough yogurt, milk and porridge for a few days… I think I’ll survive.

    That website said the chances of getting this “Dry Socket” thing was around 5%. I was also just re-reading the pamphlet the dentist office gave me and found two spelling mistakes.

    I think the “Dry Socket” thing might have even been worth it (as long as I had a large bottle of Tylenol handy) — I really, really like that photo.

  7. bine says:

    aaaw, you have my sympathy.
    that picture is amazing, i’d have loved to see the faces of your dentist and nurse.

    since the tooth fairy doesn’t travel to germany i have kept all my extracted wisdom teeth, neatly cleaned and shrink-wrapped by my dentist’s nurse without my even asking for it. i can still remember that crunching sound during the extraction whenever i look at them.

    i hope everything heals nicely. and i might think about flossing, myself.

  8. feartheseeds says:

    you have my sympathy

    Thanks bine.

    …think about flossing

    Believe me, flossing will be high on my morning agenda now. But, ironically, it was flossing that started the abscess… I cut my gum three or four times in one session back in March — never floss and daydream.

  9. darkentries says:

    I have had several teeth extracted over the last few years as I have a dentist friend who took it upon himself to sort my mouth out, as I hadn’t seen a dentist for about 12 years.
    He’s damn good with the anaesthetic so its not a painful procedure, but when they’re well lodged in there like that one (I had one with similar giant roots, possibly longer…my friend was even impressed) it is quite unnerving to have someone tugging away at part of your head with what is basically a wrench, or if that doesn’t work, hacking away at it with a scalpel, or some kind of ratchet affair .
    One of my teeth was so crappy that it broke up as he was removing it, so the three roots had to be taken out seperately…that was a bugger.

    And I had a dry socket, but its not that bad. I did get a temporary filling though, to act as a fake clot, which might have helped matters.

    That is quite an impressive pus sac you have there though. I’m amazed you weren’t living in a cloud of pain with that bastard pulsing away…

  10. feartheseeds says:

    That is quite an impressive pus sac you have there…

    Thanks. I’ve been looking at it thinking I should give it a name… maybe Mr. Pus… Or Phil. I’ve had all four “wisdom teeth” pulled, one of them had broken off and disintegrated. I don’t remember exactly how long it took to get the whole thing out of there but it seemed like an hour or so… ever since then I keep saying “yes” when the doctor asks if I need more anaesthetic.

  11. thordora says:

    well….a masochist could get off on that kind of pain…not my thing though…that’s a bit much.

    Mine wouldn’t stop bleeding, so I remember stuffing tea bags in my mouth to help stop it. worked though.

  12. feartheseeds says:

    The pamphlet said to use tea bags as well… what a weird medical system we have. The absolute worst pain is Mouth Pain, but so far the only time my face has hurt since getting it pulled was this morning when I bit into a non-mushed piece of porridge.

    SL: I’ve timeshifted a couple of responses to “darkentries” and “bine”… it’s just so it doesn’t look like I’m talking to myself on the sidebar.

  13. I was going to get into the whole “dry socket” thing too but chimpy beat me to it.

    I’ve had extractions but not for any sort of icky you’re abcessed/infected reason. I had a couple of first molars pulled for braces (which contributed nicely to my already in-the-basement self image.) At least I only had partial headgear that I wore at night…never at school!

    Then, after those were removed, when I was about 16 or so, my dentist said we need to take out your wisdom teeth or when they come in (of course they were impacted–I was only 16!) they’ll just push everything forward and undo all the work that was done.

    So yes, it is surgery. At least for impacted teeth, I would say so. Incision, find tooth, yank. I was completely out with a general.

    For the first two, however…good ol’ Nitrous Oxide aka Laughing Gas.

    I have a funny reaction to dental anaesthetic now, however. I recently had to have a cavity filled and they had to keep freezing me up. It just wouldn’t work. I kept saying to my dentist, “Erm…I can feel you doing that…” He said, “You’re not supposed to…”

    Not completely uncommon in some patients he said but I think they gave me two or possibly three shots when only one should have sufficed for a simple cavity job. Bizarre. And yes, I didn’t stay frozen for long either…wore off just like that even though he pumped enough into me.

  14. Clare says:

    Ewwww. Best.Post.Ever.


  15. feartheseeds says:

    Yay, FINALLY!!!! Someone recognizes the (ahem) genius of this post. Isn’t that the most disgusting thing you’ve ever seen? That was in my face… that’s a giant pus bag! A giant pus bag that was in my face… isn’t that photo just freaking awesome?

    I pulled my camera out just as he was making the last couple of pulls… just as he was pulling that bad boy out of my jaw my camera makes a little “beep-beep” thing when I turned it on… freaked the nurse right out. She was laughing, Dr. Tiny Fingers was not impressed.

    I told my mom later on and she was like “who does that? Who pulls a camera out while having surgery?”

  16. Dane says:

    There goes my breakfast. And it was a really good muffin.

  17. Justin Mohareb says:

    Holy Christmas. That’s quite the chomper there.

    I hope the tooth fairy’s purposes are not sinister.

    Do you ever read Pratchett? He did a novel called HogFather that delved into that.

  18. feartheseeds says:

    If the Tooth Fairy has any sinister motives I’ve just given her the fuel for the bomb arsenal, that Bad Boy was at least an inch long. I can’t get over the size of the hole that is now in my face.

    I’ve never read Pratchett, they made a movie about HogFather. I’ve never seen that either. I’ll find the novel if you’ll find “Imperial Life In The Emerald City” by Rajiv Chandrasekaran.

    If there was bacon wrapped around that muffin you have my sympathies… just so I know you understand: that’s a giant, pus-filled cyst-sack hanging off that freaking thing. My mouth was just full of blood and pus while I was taking the photo of that rotted out beast. Look at the chunks just dripping off… freaking awesome.

  19. Justin Mohareb says:

    Deal. As long as I don’t have to buy it from Heather. Maybe BMV. Do you have a DVD player? We can burn you the Hogfather flick.

    Just take care so you don’t end up with the dry socket.

    Man, that thing just gets creepier everytime I look at it.

  20. feartheseeds says:

    I do indeed have a DVD player. In fact it’s a Sony… I believe the model is called a “PlayStation Deux”.

    Okay… you want to get really, I mean really, weirded out about that cancer laden beast of a tooth? Take another look at the photo, but this time imagine that bloodied, meat dripping, pus-filled cyst-bag sideshow circus freak monster of a tooth is being inserted… how’s that for muffin tossing?

  21. Justin Mohareb says:

    That’s pretty darn disturbing, yeah. So is the bunny video.

  22. feartheseeds says:

    I love the bunny thing… I found it on Bryan’s site so I thought it’d be cool to use as a link to him… he needs the help, the Bunny’s have him.

  23. Clare says:

    I for one would bring my camera along for surgery but I would likely be anesthetized and not be able to take pictures. I do bring my camera to restaurants and take pictures of my meal before eating and sometimes post the pics on my other blog.

  24. feartheseeds says:

    Clare, during my recent illness I had a major “de-fooding period” where I almost had my camera with me… I just misplaced it as I was heading into the washroom to “de-food”. It would have been so frigging cool.

  25. aikaterine says:

    I hope you feel better soon, it just sounds terrible.

  26. Clare says:

    I have yet to figure out how to comment to a comment on Word Press.

    I just wanted to say: Ahhh the brilliant hues of de-food.

  27. Pingback: My Thanks To You On The First Anniversary Of Salted Lithium… YAY YOU. « …salted lithium.

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